MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD IN THE VILLAGE HALL
8pm on Tuesday 3rd March 2009 in Churton Village Hall

1. Present Parish Councillors Angela Palmer (Chair), Jan Edwards, Diana Mander, City Councillor Paul Roberts and the clerk.
2. Apologies were received from Parish Councillors Helen Dearden, Jennifer Clayton and Howard Mead, Shadow Unitary Councillor Neil Ritchie and from County Councillor Eveleigh Moore Dutton.
3. Report from Village Plan Committee. The application for funding is now complete.
4. The Co-option of new councillors. There were still no volunteers. It was questioned whether some members of the council had had their membership lapse as they had not attended a meeting for six months. It was agreed that the clerk would get clarification from the Association of Parish Council.
5. Minutes of the January meeting had been circulated by email. It was agreed that they were a correct record. There were no matters arising from the minutes which were not on the agenda.
6. Matters to consider later - the post of clerk, and date of the Annual Parish Meeting.
7. Correspondence. Several items of correspondence had been received. Two items in particular caused debate. One was the news of the closure of the A41 which was very inconvenient. The other was the letter from the Boundary Commission. Paul Roberts explained how the wards of the new Cheshire West and Chester Council were the old County Council Divisions. The old single member divisions had become three member wards. This would not be fair as they were not all the same size, and they were very large. Near us it was likely that single member wards would be created, larger than the old two member city council wards but smaller than the old three member city council wards. So consequently it was likely that Farndon ward would be merged with Dodleston ward and some of Tilston ward. It was agreed that the clerk would circulate this information and ask for councillors to comment.
8. There was still no news about the proposed new notice board.
9. The memorial bench was no in place. The chair had helped assemble it and the clerk has put wood preservative on it. It now needed a plaque on it, and securing to a fixed object. Councillors would consider this and discuss it at the next meeting.
10. Churton had entered the Best Kept Village Competition. It was agreed to publicize this in My Village News, Focus and other local publications, in order to encourage residents to keep the village tidy.
11. DCFC Playbuilder Project for West Cheshire. The new local authority has recently been awarded approximately £1,000,000 of central government funding from the Department for Children, Schools and Families towards providing improved play facilities in the area. Churton has an application for consideration for inclusion as one of 22 new or significantly improved play spaces. It is expected that each site will benefit from an approximate investment of £40,000.
12. Planning applications. The council had two applications for consideration. One was for the demolition of existing green house and construction of new cottage with new driveway at Rose Cottage, Stannage Lane. An application for a similar development was refused in 2002. The other was a minor alteration for an already approved plan at Ferry View, Stannage Lane. Cllr Jan Edwards declared an interest in this application. It was agreed that the views of the other councillors would be sought by email. The result of this was the following comment was sent regarding the first application
"Although this in not a completely unreasonable attempt at in-fill, the council on balance is against the application. A similar application on the same site was rejected in the past and nothing has really changed since then. The plot is not large enough to justify an in-fill property, particularly bearing in mind that most properties in Stannage Lane are large, with large gardens, and the properties either side of the proposal are large."
And the following comment was sent regarding the second application,
"These are minor alterations and make no substantive change to the previous application already approved. The council is therefore in full support."
13. Report from Village Hall Committee. It was agreed that the clerk would pay the plumber and also for the fuel. The hall also had to pay the annual sum of £100 to The Grosvenor Estate. There was a problem in that when the clerk tried to change a light bulb the bulb had disintegrated in the socket, and he couldn't remove the remains. It was agreed that the chair would ask her electrician to sort it.
14. To consider entering "Village Community Safety Award". It was agreed to enter.
15. To consider entering "Community Council Spirit Award". It was agreed to enter.
16. Reports from outside bodies - none.
17. Reports from local City Councillor, Paul Roberts. He said that there was disquiet about how the new council was being set up. It was only a few weeks from its start date, and still many staff didn't know if they were transferring over or not. It would be interesting to see how the new council got on. There would be various economies of scale, for instance it would be more economic to have two Human Resources departments where there had been seven, two ICT departments where there had been seven. However there were also various diseconomies of scale, where large county-wide services such as education, social services and highways were being broken up into two services. There were also large costs of re-organisation, with no money from the government. Consequently the new council is likely to be hard-pressed for cash. The chair thanked him for his report and in general for his service to the parish. He had been most diligent and had helped tremendously. Cllr Paul Roberts thanked her for her comments and said that since he had first attended, he had always been made very welcome. It was noted that he had been made an Alderman of the Council - it was a very rare and unusual honour for someone to be made an Alderman for two different councils at different ends of the country. There were concerns about the service the council would get in the way of councillors from the new authority visiting and helping the Parish Council. It was hoped that the three new Unitary Councillors would visit and help. It was noted that Cllr Ritchie was also a Parish Councillor and Cllr Ann Wright was also a Parish Clerk, so they understood the needs of Parish Councils.
18. Accounts for payment. It was agreed to pay the clerk & street cleaner, the subscription for CPRE. It was also agreed to pay for training for the chair, although this cheque was later returned to the council as it was posted in too late.
19. Matters raised in item 6. Mr Charles Higgie was confirmed in his post as Clerk and Street Cleaner. It was agreed to hold the Annual Parish Meeting on Tuesday 28th April 2009.
20. The meeting closed at 9.30pm.